Johannesburg City Council Speaker Colleen Makhubele has blamed illegal foreigners as well as NGOs for the mess that the city finds itself in.
This is as hijacked buildings continue to be used for illegal activities and unlawful shenanigans.
This comes after it emerged that the city is home to no less than 100 hijacked buildings which house homeless South Africans and foreigners following the Marshalltown fire, which left scores dead yesterday.
Makhubele said foreigners who were injured in the blaze at the former women and children shelter should come forward and be treated for injuries by health professionals and not hide.
She was speaking to the media during her second visit to the scene, where 74 people reportedly died after the fire broke out inside the five story building in the early hours of Thursday morning.
It is reported that many undocumented immigrants who were injured have been experiencing insolence due to their status.
"I want to appeal to the foreign nationals who have been injured and that have lost loved ones to please not be afraid to talk to us. We are at a stage of a crisis. We want to assist everyone. Let them go to hospital to be treated.
“We will not be looking at their documentation today. Some of them are hiding, and they don't want to go to hospital, but they need attention because this is a humanitarian crisis,’’ she said.
Everyone should take their portion of the blame, including national, provincial and local government, Makhubele added.
‘’The City is taking responsibility. The building was not compliant. It was hijacked. It has been hijacked since 2013 or so. What saddens me a lot is that this is a heritage building. We failed to treat it as a heritage site and preserve it's heritage and history. We allowed illegal foreigners to come and occupy it. So we have to take that responsibility as a city,’’ Makhubele said.
She said most of the masterminds and financiers of hijacked buildings were foreigners.
‘’These shenanigans come from illegal foreigners. But I want to appeal to our citizens, because they also play a part in this. Lawlessness, ill-discipline, you don't report issues.
‘’You can't have a building like this housing 400 families. This is a five-storey building demarcated into shacks, and our people are living there. Why was this not brought to the attention of the authorities?’’ she asked.
Makhubele also slammed NGOs for prioritising human rights at the expense of the country's laws.
‘’We have NGOs prioritising human rights. They came crying out for human rights when we tried to take over the buildings.
‘’This whole thing of NGOs focusing on the human rights of criminals instead of understanding the broader picture, as well and human rights of everybody, including citizens and the right of the City to do its job. They prevent us from working. We need to also look at our constitution. It allows and has a loop hole in this kind of thing,’’ she said.